Is society finally making some room on the runway for plus-size models?
Women have been fighting with body image since the beginning. Does clothing on a stick thin model really make you want to buy the clothes? Or are designers the ones to blame for letting their designs be displayed by extremely skinny women.
So much debate has gone into the issues about skinny models, and many people think that runway shows should have average women walking. On the other hand designers are still making clothing that can only fit a certain amount of women. They need six-foot-tall models to slip into size zero clothing samples. Some of the world’s most famous and well known models are all very thin in size. The world’s skinniest model, Olga Sherer has walked 72 shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Some designers create beautiful clothing because they love to, and it’s their passion but they also want to sell their clothing to you. The media has portrayed beautiful and skinny women to be the image all women should want, and it’s not just designers, but magazines run ads with beautiful thin models to try to get you to sell the clothing or product.
Designers are not the only ones selling small sizes but retailer giants like Banana Republic are already selling clothing smaller then 0. This new size they are advertising is 00. Martin Hickman from independent.ie reports that Nicole Miller, also a popular retailer is planning on introducing “sub-zero”. “It said customers were complaining they had to take in the existing size 0 clothes.” In Nicole Millers defense, Alison Hodge a spokesperson for the brand reported that "We've introduced this new size for naturally petite women, not for models who have dieted themselves down to a dangerously low height-to-weight ratio." Are all these small women on diets from watching the runway shows? "Fashion is a mirror and many teenagers imitate what they see on the catwalk," said regional official Concha Guerra.
With so many health problems on the runways, changes are happening. A quick poll was done on the CNN website. The question was: “Do you agree that underweight models should be banned from fashion shows?” The results 80% said yes, and 20% said no.
A big change has happen in Madrid, Spain. Madrid was the first in the world to ban on overly skinny models at a top-level fashion show. It has caused anger between modeling agencies and raised restrictions in other areas. Madrid's fashion week has turned down underweight girls after information went out those women were looking to copy their skinny models bodies and developing eating disorders. CNN also reported that the “Madrid's regional government, which sponsors the show and imposed restrictions, said it did not blame designers and models for anorexia. It said the fashion industry had a responsibility to portray healthy body images.”
With that said there are some designers and retailers that sell to plus size women, but they are not couture clothing. Addition Elle, Pennington’s and even Sears are all catering to women that are happy with their bodies and don’t want to change a thing. They all sell fashion forward clothing.
Fashion magazines like Lou Lou provide women with fashion ideas and where to buy the best fashion. They also have pages for the larger women and where the best styles can be found. Glamour magazine has also started featuring more plus-size models. USA Today reports, Glamour's Leive believes the media has a powerful influence on women's body images and a responsibility to represent women of all sizes. "We do not run photos of anybody in the magazine who we believe to be at an unhealthy weight. We frequently feature women of all different sizes. We all know that you can look fabulous in clothes without being a size 2."
Television is also changing. After the popular TV show America’s Next Top Model hosted by famous model Tyra Banks aired, the public got to see what goes on at fashion shows, model shoots, and the model lifestyle. The show carried a few plus-size models that tried to make it to the top, but never made it close, until last season’s 2007’s winner Whitney, a student from Atlantic Beach, Florida became America’s Next Top Model, and the first ever plus-size model to win.
Even with so many problems with thin models, designers, magazines, and ads are still using them, but the transition is happening, and society is become more aware of the issues. People want a change, but it is up to society to change the ways. We should be catering to ever women out there. After all women come in all shapes and sizes!